I’ve noticed many genres are fading in the late 70s. Folk, Reggae, Country, Funk? They all ain’t what they used to be. Perhaps the greatest highlight of 1978 is Eddie Van Halen showing off. Punk morphs into post-punk, which is soooooo much better than punk, but I'm still labeling it punk so when people try to defend punk to me, I'll think of post-punk so I won't argue with them as much. The Talking Heads and new wave are pretty much the shizzy.
70. The Gambler – Kenny Rogers (Country) – 1978
This song really sucks, but it’s “The Gambler,” so what can I do?
69. The Big Country – Talking Heads (Alt-Country) – 1978
68. Roxanne – The Police (New Wave) – 1978
Roxanne apparently doesn’t have to put on the red light. Jesus Sting! Give me some more words!
67. Baker Street – Gerry Rafferty (Pop) – 1978
This would be here due to the fact that there are guilty pleasures in life. How do you not love that horn?
66. You Really Got Me – Van Halen (Hard Rock) – 1978
65. Satisfaction – Devo (New Wave) – 1978
64. I Can Get Off on You – Willie Nelson (Country) – 1978
I wonder if it took Willie Nelson until 1978 to realize that a good woman is better than good drugs.
63. Hong Kong Garden – Siouxsie and the Banshees (Punk) – 1978
A glockenspiel, really?
62. Teenage Kicks – The Undertones (Punk) – 1978
61. Who Says a Funk Band Can’t Play Rock? – Funkadelic (Funk) – 1978
60. No Second Thoughts – Tom Petty (Alt-Country) – 1978
59. Mind Your Own Business – Delta 5 (New Wave) – 1978
58. Shot By Both Sides – Magazine (Punk) – 1978
If there’s “post-punk” in 1978, that gives “punk” the shortest shelf-life of any musical genre in history. PUNK! A Musical Force from the end of 1976 to the summer of 1977! I think Weird Al Yankovic lasted longer.
57. Radio Radio – Elvis Costello (New Wave) – 1978
56. The Dream’s Dream – Television (New Wave) – 1978
55. Take Me to the River – Talking Heads (New Wave) – 1978
54. Because the Night – Patti Smith (Rock) – 1978
I always thought this was a Pat Benatar song, but this makes sense in a way.
53. I Am the Fly – Wire (Punk) – 1978
52. Stay Free – The Clash (New Wave) – 1978
51. Warning Sign – Talking Heads (New Wave) – 1978
50. Jamie’s Crying – Van Halen (Hard Rock) – 1978
Eddie Van Halen is here to turn it up a notch, and let you know it.
49. (I Love the Sound of) Breaking Glass – Nick Lowe – 1978
I’m not sure if I love this song or hate it, but the fact that he calls his album the Jesus of Cool probably means I should hate this douchebag, or love him.
48. One Nation Under a Groove – Funkadelic (Funk) – 1978
47. Move It On Over – George Thorogood (Rock) – 1978
46. Shattered – The Rolling Stones (Rock) – 1978
At this point, it’s kind of all been done for the Stones, but Some Girls does manage to sneak in a few decent tunes.
45. Being Boiled – Human League (Synthpop) – 1978
44. Ever Fallen In Love (With Someone You Shouldn’t) – Buzzcocks (Punk) – 1978
43. One Way Or Another – Blondie (New Wave) – 1978
42. Son of a Son of a Sailor – Jimmy Buffett (Country) – 1978
It’s official, I’ve lived in Florida too long.
41. With Our Love – Talking Heads (New Wave) – 1978
40. Kangaroo – Big Star (Slow Rock) – 1978
39. Fire on the Mountain – Grateful Dead (Jam Rock) – 1978
38. The Model – Kraftwerk (Synthpop) – 1978
37. Far Away Eyes – The Rolling Stones (Alt-Country) – 1978
36. The Day The World Turned Day-Glo – X-Ray Spex (Punk) – 1978
I doubt they get much credit towards the birth of speed metal, but the guitar in this song sounds like something Megadeath would do.
35. Another Girl, Another Planet – The Only Ones (New Wave) – 1978
34. Eruption – Van Halen (Instrumental) – 1978
Sure this is probably cock-waving at its absolute apex, but this song has probably made more kids wanna play guitar than anything Hendrix has ever done. Are we really gonna sit here and pretend Jimi isn’t any less of a douche than Eddie?
33. Werewolves of London (Warren Zevon) – 1978
After Jerry Garcia died, I saw some Connecticut jam band cover this song in his honor. I have no idea what their name is anymore, and if any of my CT homies know, extra bonus point in March Madness next year if you tell me.
32. Surrender – Cheap Trick (Hard Rock) – 1978
Apparently 1978 is the year hard rock somehow gets combined with wuss rock. I still love this song though.
31. What a Waste – Ian Dury & The Blockheads (Glam Rock) – 1978
First of all, Phish should pay royalties from their “Waste” song on this one. Gosh. This is a weird tune. It’s got some kind of Bowie-esque thing going on with a reggae beat, then some kind of Parliament funk in it. It may fail the “I want my environment to be a product of me” test, but it’s interesting enough.
30. Stagger Lee – Grateful Dead (Rock) – 1978
29. Miss You – The Rolling Stones (Rock) – 1978
How bad do you think the Stones wanted to make pure disco music as they were all coked up in the late 70s?
28. Can’t Stand Losing You – The Police (New Wave) – 1978
The Police like many groups of the late 70s do a great job of incorporating reggae in their songs, and at the same time, it seems like reggae has fallen off the map in it's pure form.
27. Killing An Arab – The Cure (New Wave) – 1978
I’m not exactly sure when “Gothic” begins, but it’s got to be soon.
26. Carried Away – Television (Slow Rock) – 1978
25. Julie’s Been Working for the Drug Squad – The Clash (Rock ‘n Roll) – 1978
With all this talk about them being punk, or new wave, or hell, even a reggae band, they’re also a really great rock ‘n roll band.
24. Down in the Tube Station at Midnight – The Jam (Punk) – 1978
23. The Robots – Kraftwerk (Synthpop) – 1978
This song reminds me of that song the nerds play in Revenge of the Nerds during the talent show at the end. NERRRRRRRRRRRRRRRDS!
22. Hot Blooded – Foreigner (Hard Rock) – 1978
Maybe Foreigner is the pioneers of wuss rock, but this is a fun song.
21. I’m the One – Van Halen (Hard Rock) – 1978
Aside from all his excessive flash and what not, Eddie really does turn it up a notch where Jimmy Page left off.
20. (What’s So Funny ‘Bout) Peace, Love & Understanding – Elvis Costello (Rock) – 1978
19. Found a Job – Talking Heads (New Wave) – 1978
18. Lipstick Vogue – Elvis Costello (New Wave) – 1978
17. Beast of Burden – Rolling Stones (Rock) – 1978
16. Artist’s Only – Talking Heads (New Wave) – 1978
15. Rock ‘n Roll Nigger – Patti Smith (Punk) – 1978
14. Heart of Glass – Blondie (New Wave) – 1978
Blondie found that perfect blend of new wave and disco. I love artists with a good sense of how to use pop sensibilities and not sound like a commercial whilst using them.
13. I’m Not in Love – Talking Heads (New Wave) – 1978
Maybe the second side of More Songs About Buildings and Food isn't as inseparable as Abbey Road, but it definitely has it’s thing going on.
12. Ain’t Talking ‘bout Love – Van Halen (Hard Rock) – 1978
Aside from the fun finger-tapping, another technique Eddie has great control of is the artificial harmonic, and he’s not shy about showing it here. Guitar gimmicks are great.
11. White Man in Hammersmith Palais (Punk) – 1978
If there was an award for best punk reggae song, this would probably win it.
10. I Will Survive – Gloria Gaynor (Disco) – 1978
This is probably my favorite disco song. Not sure if Donna Summer’s future classic “I Feel Love” is true disco as this is, but that’s the only 70s dance song I probably like more.
9. Human Fly – The Cramps (Punk) – 1978
The other night I was watching “Cops” and some dumbass college kid got busted for graffiti. He wrote some quote unquote wise something or other in a manner Adam Morrison (remember him?) wrote “Religion is the opiate of the masses” on the team’s chalkboard. Said dumbass was wearing a “The Cramps” shirt (how’s that for a double article?) and I immediately realized because of that fucktard, they were a shitty band. I was wrong. Moral of the story, just because someone is promoting a band and they’re a douche, doesn’t mean the band sucks.
8. Thank You For Sending Me an Angel – Talking Heads (New Wave) – 1978
7. Come Back Jonee – Devo (New Wave) – 1978
I always thought Clap Your Hands Say Yeah sounded like the Talking Heads, but they sound so much more like this Devo tune (and probably most like Television when all is said and done).
6. Pump It Up – Elvis Costello (New Wave) – 1978
This is another one of those lost songs in my world. I’ve always known and loved it, but never knew the name of it or who performed it.
5. Stay Hungry – Talking Heads (New Wave) – 1978
These guys take a huge step forward with More Songs About Buildings and Food, and this is the best tune on it.
4. Running With the Devil – Van Halen (Hard Rock) – 1978
This is actually an old blues song by Muddy Waters referring to when an old bluesman signed a contract with whitey, he’d be “Running with the Devil.” That’s what this song is really about. In fact, all of Van Halen’s songs were really deeper than people thought. “Panama ” for instance was about the rise to power of Manuel Noriega. “Hot For Teacher” was about the ongoing struggles of adolescent 12 years olds having relations with teachers. See, Van Halen is serious, despite what you ever thought of them.
3. Shakedown Street – Grateful Dead (Jam Rock) – 1978
Here the Dead fully embrace disco whereas the Stones only tease it. Incredible latter year Dead tune.
2. Sultans of Swing – The Dire Straits (Rock) – 1978
Here’s the Key West Story of Zach vs. Random Guitar Player from some band playing cover songs. On the first night of a multi-night Key West bachelor party, I bet the guy from the band that he couldn’t play the guitar solo to this song. To this day, I don’t think he did it well and don’t feel as though he deserved the $20 that my friends insisted I paid him, AND I realize today this solo isn’t as impressive as I once thought. Most importantly from the story, was after he was done, I took stage and had all of Schooner’s Wharf rocking to the point I got an immediate record deal and ended up doing blow off of stripper’s asses later that night. That’s the beauty of drunkenness. You can remember it however you want.
1. I Wanna Be Sedated – The Ramones (Punk) – 1978
Sometimes I think the Ramones are overrated because of the simplistic nature of their songs, but then I listen to them again. They probably would’ve been #1 on my “Must-See” list if I were going to shows in the late 70s.